Tent cities get commission's attention



The south King County representative on a county commission assigned to corral tent-city issues gets a daily reminder of the extent of homelessness.

Dini Duclos is chief executive officer of Multi-Service Center, the Federal Way-based social services agency that tells a dozen or more families each night that it has nowhere for them to sleep.

“Every area in the county has its own challenges regarding homelessness. Putting everyone’s issues on the table should be helpful,” said Duclos, appointed Monday by the Metropolitan King County Council to the Citizens Advisory Commission on Homeless Encampments.

The 22-member commission is supposed to report back to the council by Aug. 15 with suggestions on where the camps might be allowed to locate –– including public and private land –– and guidelines the county could place on them.

The loosely organized encampments –– tent cities, as they’re often called –– created controversy recently by locating in the Redmond and Bothell areas. Residents there objected to the camps being near their homes and in their general communities, claiming property values and personal safety could be affected.

Despite citizens’ criticism of the county for trying to allow homeless camps, support for them remains on the council.

“Tent cities aren’t a permanent or ideal answer to homelessness,” but as a “structured place to stay that is run by the (homeless) residents, they can be a temporary solution for those working to better their situation,” said Councilman Larry Phillips.

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